The ‘New’ Interactive Novel

Minian_icon1_thumbThose of you that have already plunged into my latest Syfy ebook, Ricket – Star Watch Book 2, you’ve undoubtedly noticed there’s something different going on. Right off the bat, I inform the reader that this book, for those that are reading on a web-enabled e-reader – or have access to a PC …  is interactive and that they’ll be able to refer back to my website to get a closer look at several of the featured spacecrafts. Strategically placed all through the book are little reminder, clickable, icons (see pic) that hyperlink the reader in the blink of an eye, to the corresponding spacecraft page… then, here, deck layouts that drill down to individual compartments, such as Medical or the Bridge are accessible. Very cool, if I don’t mind saying myself. Eventually, a join my mailing list pop-up appears requesting the visitor to join my mailing list and, if he/she sees value, they’ll sign up!


Sure this is a nice ‘extra’ I’m offering to my reader, but it’s far more than that. I want to bolster my mailing list and reach as many new sci-fi readers as possible. There are limited resources available to us indie-authors. Some, such as my fellow indie-author Mark Dawson utilize facebook advertising at an astounding level. His ads drive people to his website to get free ebooks in exchange for their email address which is added to his mailing list. It works for him very well … but at a hefty cost. Facebook advertising at his level is very very very expensive.

As of this morning I’ve put out the gauntlet to Dawson … which of us can drive more people back to their websites and ultimately grow their mailing list. I’m coming in at a major disadvantage since he is an absolute marketing genius, but I think I have him considering a different, if not, parallel path to growing one’s list. The game is on and I’ll keep you all up to date as to website page stats and increase in my Mailchimp mailing list. Since my new book, Ricket, has been available for less than a day, the numbers are still very early …. but I’ve already got around 400 new page views. Since it takes a good week for my books to really start ranking on amazon, it’ll be interesting to see how that number grows and how many unique IP’s are clicking in. Where Dawson is paying for each and every click to his website, mine are pretty much free. All that needs to be factored into our little competition …

The plan is to keep adding new sections to the Explore The Ships section of the site with added spacecrafts. Since I have the sections already there for The Lilly, I’ll be adding the linkable icons into the first Scrapyard Ship book (at a minimum) and maybe all of the books as well. As for adding this type of interactivity to my other series, such as the Lone Star Renegades, or even the Mad Powers (Tapped In) books, we’ll just have to see …  it’s a huge amount of work from a graphics and web-layout stand-point. Ultimately it will be the reader that decides if this is something worth pursuing. But if early indications are any indication, there will be a big demand to expand on what I’m already doing.

Ricket — Star Watch book 2

Ricket Book CoverThe next book in the Star Watch saga, Ricket, will go on sale in ebook form on amazon sometime today (October 19th, 2015). Both the print and the audiobook are in process and will follow shortly.

This is the first of my books that incorporates interactive icons that allow the reader to pop back and forth (at least those with e-readers or have a PC nearby) to my newly designed website to explore the various Scrapyard Ship / Star Watch spacecrafts. With thousands of pages written about these ships and all the action that occurs on them, I felt it was essential to provide some kind of interactive means for the reader to see what is what or at least what relation one place has to another… It ended up being a huge undertaking and took months to complete. I hope it’s a help and I’ll keep adding more ships if the response is good. Check out the new section on this site called Explore The Ships.

Ricket. For years now fans of the Scrapyard Ship, and now, Star Watch, have been telling me how much they relate to Ricket and his endearing, kind, nature. He is one of my favorites as well and in some ways he is as much of a main character as Jason and Boomer.

Nearly half the book is written from Ricket’s POV (point of view) so I really needed to get into his head and think the way Ricket thinks. As I’ve mentioned numerous times before, I’m often as surprised at what transpires in my books as the reader is. Sure I have a basic layout of how I want things to progress, but for the most part the words fly into my head at lightning speed (most often between 3:00am and 9:00am), and it’s all I can do to keep up with the cosmic download.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how technical Ricket’s mind is … how it works … like all the time. And he’s compulsive to the point he’s a little OCD. As you read back in the early Scrapyard Ship books, Ricket was consumed with becoming a fully organic being again (he had been a mix of Craing/robot — a cyborg) and it was hugely important to him to regain his organic beingness. But like those people that cant stop with plastic surgery, always one more operation … Ricket cannot stay away from grabbing up the latest internal tech… even to the detriment of his own wellbeing.

This is one of my favorite books and it was probably the most difficult to write. It really kicked my ass and I feel like I’ve been working non-stop for three months on spin cycle. I took three days up in the mountains (Beaver Creek, CO) and almost feel normal again.

What I think a lot of readers will appreciate, is that by the end of this book a lot of things have changed and there’s a setup for a whole lot of new things to emerge with Star Watch. As it stands right now, the next Star Watch book (book 3) will be titled: Boomer. She is by far the most requested character (for me) to writer about. We’ll see though. I’m 20,000 words into the sequel to Mad Powers, Deadly Powers and I need to get that out before Xmas of this year (2015).

Is Star Watch a Series?

STAR WATCH BADGEI’ve had several inquiries recently with readers wanting to know if Star Watch will be a continuing series or if it was just a one-off stand-alone book.

It’s a series … working on the the second Star Watch book (early title is Find Ricket), now.

Star Watch Audiobook Live!

audiobookStar_Watch_thumb_audio_thumbThe brand new Star Watch Audiobook is now live on Audible. If you’re familiar with the Scrapyard Ship series audiobooks, you’ll be right at home with the voice of L. J. Ganser.

If you’re like me, you actually prefer relaxing to an  audiobooks (at least sometimes) to a print book or ebook. You’ll find Star Watch is a delight to listen to and you’ll get lost in L. J.’s various voices that make the characters come alive. I had a lot of fun writing this book and look forward to the new series. This was an opportunity for completely new characters to show up and take center stage …while some of the old favs will stay around as well. Expect a lot of things moving forward to change, though. Think of this first Star Watch book as a bridge to many new and exciting adventures. Click on the logo below to go to audible, or go to the Audiobooks Page for more information and sample audio snippet.


Star Watch – Paperbacks Now Available!

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 12.55.24 PMFor those of you that prefer to feel the real-deal … the paperback is now available on Amazon. For those that have read the ebook version, the printed version has a cool extra – the back cover shows what the dreaded – cool-looking Sahhrain Warriors look like :-).

Idea For A New Book … How it starts

How it starts …

biplane_sunsetWhen the idea comes to you for a new book, it often arrives in bits and pieces. You’re struck by something—a visual—a sound… someone talking about something totally unrelated. But it’s more than that. It’s more like the introduction of something that has started to take shape and it’s the missing part, the puzzle piece, that’s actually inside you. Its the beginning Read more